Pantry works to feed the hungry
Residence: Boca Raton
Family: Husband, David; daughter, Charlie Beth, 22; son, Max 20
Career: Former show director for trade show producer
Organization: The food pantry that operates as a nonprofit, nonsectarian program under Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service. Food is provided to people in need in Boca Raton and Delray Beach.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
A: I always enjoyed working, and once my children were old enough, I wanted to use my skills to benefit local charities.
Why did you choose this organization?
A: When I joined the board of Ruth Rales JFS about 12 years ago, I learned about the pantry. I found it hard to believe that there were people in my neighborhood who were going hungry. I wanted to try to change that.
Q: Who does the food pantry serve?
A: Residents of Boca Raton and Delray Beach who are experiencing serious financial difficulties. Our mission is to help alleviate the burden of hunger and allow our clients to have the ability to use their efforts in other ways.
Q: Describe your volunteer role.
A: I am chairperson of the pantry. Right now, we are moving to a 2,600-square-foot facility in Delray Beach, and I've helped facilitate the move. I'm always trying to think of new and creative ways to get the community involved.
Q: What are your goals?
A: For our new facility to allow us to service our clients better. We will be able to save money now because we will have storage space to buy in bulk. The new center allows people to walk in and do their own shopping. Previously, we only delivered food. We will continue to have food that is strictly kosher, but we are adding kosher-style food. This allows for greater product diversity, as well as cost savings. We will also have a refrigerated section for vegetables and fresh milk.
Q: What challenges have you faced?
A: Getting an affluent community like Boca Raton to believe that there are people who live in their zip code but can't afford to purchase the food they need.
Q: What have you accomplished?
A: Working with a professional staff and dedicated volunteers, we've been able to get more community involvement from country clubs, schools, synagogues and other groups in order to meet our current needs. In 1996, we started with 35 clients; now we serve 550.
Q: Are there any special events coming up?
A: The grand opening celebration is Nov. 29, 2012. Please join us at 430 S. Congress Ave. in Delray Beach.
Q: What does your organization need?
A: There are many ways to get involved: assist with shelving, help in bagging the food packages, hold food drives within your community, school or organizations. Use this as a project to bring families and communities together.